Shed Light On Strengths

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“If your senses are numbed with delusion and denial, you will stop looking for these true strengths and wind up living a second-rate version of someone’s life rather than a world-class version of your own”     Donald O. Clifton

“I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death.”  Leonardo daVinci

Let’s face it we hate to admit our flaws. We deny those intrinsic shortcomings because we believe they demean us. In the meantime we all admit we are not perfect but just let someone point out some of our defects and we erupt in defense. We like to be perceived in a positive light. Admitting to anything less is unacceptable.

It is almost as if we are constantly in a competition with others and we must win at all costs. It is okay for someone else to make progress, they simply can’t pass us in the race. We are willing to help others only to a point and that is until they cross over the line and surpass us. How did we become so insecure? If we recall searching for a pre-school right after our child was born, suffice it to say we have our answer. Competing with siblings at a young age as well as receiving praise while another is disparaged speaks volumes. Rewards are given for awesome grades while humiliation is offered for a less than good report card. Of course it causes us to question the unconditional love and place it in the conditional category.

When others can witness the inside emotions we hide, it feels like an intruder into our home. Our doubt about our own worth is heartbreaking. To wake up every day with the need to compete with all those we come into contact with is exhausting. Nobody can keep up that pace. Slowing down and getting a handle on our life is the first thing we must do. Peace and serenity follow as soon as we are able to accept ourselves.

There is no reward for achieving the best grades, degrees, jobs or winning the most medals or trophies. When we hang out with others, if they are truly friends, they won’t find it necessary to exploit us or demean us. Their honor doesn’t depend on our downfall. If we provide them with a compliment it will never detract from our own inner abilities.

I find it to be a difficult task, to convince others of their strengths and worth. I also find it difficult to view myself in a positive light. It is as if we just can’t stop comparing ourselves to others and measuring our importance or imperfections by the merit or worthlessness of another. The reality is we are the ones searching for the validation of our own merit. There can be more than one person with fantastic capabilities, but the envy creeps in when we believe others are competing with us. It is a threatening sensation.

I believe at times, that what we are pressured to perceive as significant, is not the path we are to be on. If we do not want to be a gymnast and have poor coordination then it will take more time and effort and we might never reach the point of professional, regardless of how much parents or spouses push us to accomplish it. Perhaps another road will lead us towards a more comfortable goal. Searching for the truth about who we are and what our competencies are, supports us in finding our true course.

All of us must find our own life path and follow it. Whenever others unconsciously throw obstacles in our path, and detain our journey, or ridicule us, we can’t be deterred. The inclination might be to stop freeze and succumb to fear. Fighting our doubt and terror is critical to the survival of our own dreams. Following our own abilities and accepting their worth is our first step in making them happen. No one should indicate or dissuade another from their destinies.

It is extremely confusing when people refuse to accept what fascinations and proclivities they are endowed with. Total acknowledgement is at times not reached for many years. I believe that is why so many find their pastimes and happiness so much later in life. Most likely others cultivate hobbies out of their love and joy for their leisure pursuits.   We all attempt to please parents, teachers, siblings, friends or family. So many of us embrace fields others deem worthy. How amazing to comprehend the power others wield over us. We influence people all the time. Parents especially can nudge their kids into fields of study that are of no interest to their children. At some point, parents must let go and allow their adult kids to form their own opinions and choose their own path. Likewise, young adults must gain the confidence to withstand pressure and select for themselves.

If we are going to play the role of guiding another person, we should be sure to understand the emotions aptitudes and desires of the person involved. After all none of us would like having another select our spouse or friends, yet by allowing others to send us packing this way or another is disregarding our own thoughts and desires. Offer some input but always allow your kids to follow their own hearts.

Parents probably want their kids to earn a decent living so their manipulation may be out of love, but it is still a tool they use with pressure attached. As parents we need to guide with love and accept the returns of independent thinking. We hopefully did not have children with the ulterior motive of controlling them forever, which has happened to some kids. Most of us yearn for our kids to become independent, resourceful and financially independent.

Friends like to keep all things equal. Worrying about our dreams that might be greater than their own is fearful to them. Competition and jealousy is always present in friends family and co-workers. In the end we must select what is necessary for our own growth.

Unless we observe the abilities in us the insecurity will keep creeping in until we are overcome with doubt and anxiety. At those points we turn to others for support. That may be fine but trusting our own decisions is vital. We are capable and deserve a lot of credit. Just rising every day to face the problems and difficulties while keeping a smile for the family is truly a hero’s place.

Perhaps our answers are deep down inside of us just waiting to sprout. The fear is what holds us back from uncovering the actuality of who we are. Being so much more than we could conceive and having the power to extend beyond what we ever imagined is scary especially when it is possibly within our reach. Exhaust the qualities within, recognize the capabilities without and trust yourself as the first line of defense and courage to move in the direction of your own making.

Don’t allow fear to overshadow what you are and what you can become. Your happiness will depend on your ability to trek your own path, even if it is not a well-trodden route. Trust yourself because you are the most honest adviser you can have. Being happy and content isn’t always about money if it ever is. Find your way and commit to it.

The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.”    Ernest Hemingway

“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.”    Christopher Reeve

“If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.”    Audre Lorde

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”    Harriet Tubman

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